The New Television Off-Season


Besides the usual television, there are also tablets and phones with apps to watch network shows.

When I was a kid, television shows had seasons. They were very specific. School started and so did the new fall season. School ended right after the shows did. September through June without fail.

There was an occasional hiatus, but without the internet we drowned our sorrows in our bedrooms or outside playing in the fresh air. At least today we have other fans to commiserate with, not to mention reading and writing fan fiction and drawing fan art.

Sometime around high school (1981 for me) there was the mid-season replacement. A new pilot with a half schedule that started in January and if it got good ratings it would be back for the new fall season, sometimes with a cast change or schedule change.

While fans today talk about when a favorite show jumps the shark (it was also a Supernatural episode title in the seventh season), I remember the first shark jumped – Happy Days – and my kids are surprised that it was a literal shark. It was. I saw it happen live.

There were three channels, broadcast free (ABC, CBS, NBC) plus your local PBS station (operated out of Boston or New Jersey usually) that had some great murder and mystery mini-series and comedy, almost all British, which gave me a life-long love of them.

I loved my television shows. Summer was withdrawal. I always had the television on even when I was in the shower. I’m happy to say that while I still watch more than a little TV, I’ve stopped putting it on and leaving the room, and I’ve nearly all but given up on the news unless it’s something important that I can investigate online through reading.

I was with my great-grandmother watching television when Thurman Munson died. That was watched on a big box piece of furniture television.

I sat on a green velvet sectional sofa in the basement of my house when the 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey team beat the Russians. Most people forget that they won the gold one game later against Finland. That television was a smallish one that you had to get up to change the channels on. It stood on a TV cart that looked almost like a drink cart with handles and wheels. I think there was an Atari on the bottom shelf.

I got a new television when I graduated college. That was in 1988. It started giving us trouble two years ago.

One of my favorite shows all through school was The Fall Guy. I loved the behind the scenes aspect of stunt work. Being a stuntman was one of my fantasies. LIke riding a motorcycle, it was something that was just too cool for me to do but if I were stronger, or braver or more self-confident, I could, but I could never. It was also one of those shows that gave me the inside look into the television industry, which is something that still interests me and that I get to see a bit through the online world of fandom, especially where Supernatural and The Walking Dead cast and crews are concerned.

Then reality shows became popular. They were unique and unscripted, and then everyone was doing them. They’re everywhere. There are even scripted shows around reality shows. Law & Order, Bones, etc.

Today’s shows don’t get much of a chance. Supergirl was a good show but it wasn’t for CBS. I could see that. Fortunately, they dropped it and The CW picked it up so it will have its second season at a network that will love it and care for it.

One thing that started this past Sunday was the non-season. All of the shows had their season finales last week or will this week, right before school lets out.

There are new shows in mini spurts for a few weeks. I began with Major Crimes, a police procedural on TNT. I never watched the original show, The Closer that it was spun off from, but it has a great cast and interesting and entertaining stories. It’s similar to Law & Order in that the focus is on the crime, but you do get a glimpse of the personal lives, perhaps more than Law & Order always had.

Sunday’s show on AMC, Ride with Norman Reedus follows The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus as he rides his motorcycle around the country delving into the motorcycle culture, equipment and meeting some personalities. I saw the first episode where he went up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Major Crimes airs on Mondays.

Tomorrow, The CW’s Containment continues for another few weeks. As I understand it, it was not picked up for a second season. I’m still interested in the story though. I know that it’s somewhat predictable and I know exactly where the romance is going, and what the importance of the kid is, and how everything will turn out, but I still like it and I want to watch it play out. It’s my guilty pleasure.

So the non-season season starts this week and it goes for about six weeks, I believe. This will get we TV-aholics through half the summer and in my case, maybe give me something extra to write about.

Later in the week, for example, I’ll give a better review/reaction to Ride with Norman Reedus’ first episode with some links that might strike the fancy of the motorcycle enthusiasts visiting my page.